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Men's Basketball

Stretch Run Begins For Non-Conference Wins Grab

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This Week in the Big West - December 14-20, 2015

12/15/2015

2015-16 Men's Basketball Release No. 6

Four men's basketball teams are ranked in the top 100 of the NCAA RPI – Hawai‘i (61), UC Irvine (77), UC Santa Barbara (85) and Long Beach State (96).  The Big West is rated 12th among conferences, making this an important week for the continued accumulation RPI points.

However, 11 of the 12 games against Division I opponents on this week's schedule are taking place on the road.

TEAM NOTES

CAL POLY

Erase From Memory: Cal Poly, fresh off a victory over Fresno State, could not continue the momentum in a 93-63 loss at Saint Mary’s on Monday.  The Mustangs allowed the Gaels to knock down a program-record 19 three-pointers.  In addition, the 19 threes yielded was one shy of a Cal Poly program record for opponent three-pointers.

Road Swing Moves On: The Saint Mary’s game was the first of a season-long six-game road swing that next takes the Mustangs to USC on Thursday and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday.

Bennett Emerging: After coming off the bench in the first seven games, senior Brian Bennett has started the last two, and registered season-high totals in minutes (23), points (15) and field goals made (7) against Saint Mary’s.

Free Throw Fervor: The Mustangs have outshot their last four opponents at the free throw line.  They are averaging 25.3 free throw attempts over the last three contests.

CAL STATE FULLERTON

That’s A First: Cal State Fullerton lost back-to-back games for the first time all season after dropping an 82-70 decision against Loyola Marymount on Saturday.  The Titans have allowed their two highest point totals this season in the defeats – 87 to Washington and 82 to LMU.

Brooks Continues To Excel: Senior Malcolm Brooks has scored in double figures eight times in nine games for the Titans, including a 14-point effort versus Loyola Marymount.  Over the last three games, Brooks is shooting a solid .563 (18-for-32) from the field and .556 (10-for-18) from distance.

Attack The Pac: The last two Titan victories against teams from the Pac-12 Conference occurred on Nov. 16, 2009 (68-65 at UCLA) and Mar. 16, 2005 (85-83 at Oregon State).  The Titans take on Oregon State on Friday in the Far West Classic at the Moda Center.

Easy Recipe: The Titans are 5-0 this season when limiting their opposition to less than 70 points.

CSUN

Refreshed: The Matadors return from a 10-day hiatus to face Portland State on Thursday, seeking to snap a five-game losing streak.  CSUN is also looking for its first non-conference road win since Dec. 20, 2013 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Tre-Hale On The Doorstep: Senior Tre Hale-Edmerson, with at least one steal in seven straight games, is now up to 121 career steals.  That puts him just one short of tying Davin White (2003-05) and Brian Heinle (1997-2001) for No. 10 all-time at CSUN.

Dawson’s Double-Double: Coming off the bench for the first time this season, sophomore Tavrion Dawson responded with his first career double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs in the loss at San Francisco.  He has seven or more boards in seven straight games.

Drew Watch: Senior Landon Drew is 15 assists shy from becoming just the third player in CSUN history to accumulate 400 in a career.

LONG BEACH STATE

Get Ready: Long Beach State takes a 6-6 record into its final three non-conference road tilts against Oregon, No. 12 Arizona and No. 6 Duke.  The Ducks have resided within the top 25 for much of the season, but are currently No. 28 in both the USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press polls.

Fabulous Faust: Senior Nick Faust has recorded 10 or more points in all 12 games this season.  He ranks fourth in the Big West with 16.2 points per game.

Threes A Plenty: LBSU canned 11 three-pointers against Tampa on Saturday, which was the fourth time in the last five games that the Beach has hit 10 or more treys.  LBSU leads the Big West with 107 three-pointers made.  Five players have tallied double-digits in threes so far – Nick Faust (32), Noah Blackwell (20), Justin Bibbins (17), A.J. Spencer (16) and Travis Hammonds (16).

Bibbins The Distributor: Over the last eight games, sophomore point guard Justin Bibbins has dished out 48 assists with just 11 turnovers.  Bibbins is tied for No. 17 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (+4.06).

UC DAVIS

Back At It: UC Davis returns from an 11-day break for fall finals as it takes on San Diego on Tuesday.  The Aggies are looking to avoid losing two in a row for the first time this season.  They host Air Force on Saturday as well.

Lemar Coming On: San Diego native Brynton Lemar returns to his hometown to face the Toreros, and is playing the best basketball of his career.  He has scored in double figures in four straight games, averaging 14.5 points and shooting 55.0 percent (11-for-20) from three-point land.

Fox In Favor: Senior Josh Fox is hitting shots at an impressive rate.  In the last six contests, the forward has knocked down 37 of his 55 field goal attempts, or 67.3 percent.  Fox has scored in double figures in all seven games, including 19 points against Saint Mary’s in his last outing.

Better Ball Control: After a three-game stretch in which the Aggies committed 61 turnovers, the last three outings have yielded nearly half the number of miscues – 33 to be exact.  UC Davis turned the ball over a season-low eight times in the Saint Mary’s game.

UC IRVINE


Rack Up Road W’s: UC Irvine notched its third road win of the campaign with Saturday’s 73-63 triumph at Utah State.  The Anteaters also have topped UCF and Pacific on the road.  The going gets tougher for the ‘Eaters on Tuesday when they travel to No. 28 Oregon.

Turner Three From 100: Russell Turner, in his sixth season as UCI head coach, stands three wins away from collecting career No. 100.  He is 97-83 overall.

Record Watch:
Senior guard Alex Young has registered 458 career assists, 17 behind school record holder Raimonds Miglinieks, who had 475 in his Anteater career.

He Scores Too: Young recorded a season-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting against Utah State to fuel the UCI victory.  It was his fourth career 20-point game.

Mamadou’s Climb: Junior Mamadou Ndiaye, with four blocks against Utah State, upped his career total to 158.  That puts him at No. 7 in Big West history, two behind Pacific’s Michael Olowokandi for the sixth spot.

UC RIVERSIDE

Hung In There: UC Riverside nearly hung an upset on then-No. 28 UNLV on Saturday, whittling down an 18-point Rebel lead to two with a 20-4 run in the second half.  But the Highlanders were hounded by 22 turnovers that led to 23 UNLV points, and eventually lost by a 73-62 margin.

Texas Two-Stepping Again: The Highlanders return to the state of Texas for the second time this season, spending time there to tangle with Houston Baptist and Abilene Christian this week.  In its last foray, UCR wound up with a split, losing a close one to Rice before knocking off Lamar.

Johns Factor: In his third game back following a five-game suspension, senior Taylor Johns turned in a stellar effort against UNLV with his second straight double-double, finishing with 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.  Dating back to last season, Johns has reached the 20-point plateau in six of his last 11 contests.

Rebound City: UCR excelled in the rebounding department against UNLV, dominating the category 52-37 and setting season highs for total boards and offensive boards (16).

UC SANTA BARBARA

Hung In There: UC Riverside nearly hung an upset on then-No. 28 UNLV on Saturday, whittling down an 18-point Rebel lead to two with a 20-4 run in the second half.  But the Highlanders were hounded by 22 turnovers that led to 23 UNLV points, and eventually lost by a 73-62 margin.

Texas Two-Stepping Again: The Highlanders return to the state of Texas for the second time this season, spending time there to tangle with Houston Baptist and Abilene Christian this week.  In its last foray, UCR wound up with a split, losing a close one to Rice before knocking off Lamar.

Johns Factor: In his third game back following a five-game suspension, senior Taylor Johns turned in a stellar effort against UNLV with his second straight double-double, finishing with 21 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.  Dating back to last season, Johns has reached the 20-point plateau in six of his last 11 contests.

Rebound City: UCR excelled in the rebounding department against UNLV, dominating the category 52-37 and setting season highs for total boards and offensive boards (16).

HAWAI‘I

Home Sweet Home: Hawai‘i improved to 7-0 at home this season with two resounding victories over island mates Hawai‘i-Hilo and Hawai‘i-Pacific last week.  The ‘Bows now take 10 days off before resuming play in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 22 against opening round opponent Northern Iowa.

Fleming En Fuego: Sophomore Isaac Fleming cracked the starting lineup for the first time this season in Saturday’s game against Hawai‘i-Pacific, and had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting.  It’s a continuation of solid play from the 6-3 guard, who has pieced together four straight double-digit scoring efforts and has averaged 16.8 points in that stretch.

Accurate: The ‘Bows have shot 50 percent or better in half of their games.

Onslaught: Six of UH’s seven wins have come by double digits.

Need Improvement: UH is connecting at league-low 60.5 percent (127-for-210) from the free throw line this season.